MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — His voice still carries the same monotone quality. The verbiage about "youngsters" and the need to constantly improve has never changed. Even the tennis shoes are the same as always.
As he approaches his 75th birthday this fall, Bill Snyder is preparing for another season at Kansas State. And like a rite of spring in the picturesque Flint Hills, Snyder will be leading the Wildcats onto the field on Saturday for their annual spring game.
"I really do think about the fan base when I go on the field," Snyder said this week. "You think about the little children that line the walkway going out of the locker room and you see those youngsters and you see how emphatic they are and their appreciation for the players when they come out. To me, that has to be inspiring for a young guy.
"I think about those things," Snyder said, "but I also think about if we are ready to play."
Yes, Snyder may be a bit more reflective these days. He's been at this since 1988, after all, when he took over one of the worst programs in college football history. But rejuvenated by that brief retirement a few years back, he seems as spry and driven as ever before.
So while he may soak in the atmosphere in the stadium that bears his name, he will also be looking closely at a number of players and position groups as the Wildcats wrap up spring ball.
Here are five things that Snyder will be looking for:
— Competition. Snyder had not decided early in the week the exact format for the spring game, but he was leaning toward the top offense and defense playing against the No. 2s. Regardless, he wants to see competition throughout the lineup as the Wildcats seek to build up some depth.
"We have some solid guys coming in, playing, and we have a lot of young faces," offensive lineman B.J. Finney said. "So just putting them in a game-like scenario is going to show a lot, and how they work in kind of a light pressure situation."
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